Against Policy, 11 Deputies Left Pr
. George's Shooting Scene
By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 3, 2009; Page B01
Eleven Prince George's County sheriff's deputies left the scene of a deadly shooting last month, including one who fired 11 rounds, violating department policies that required them to remain present and surrender any weapons that had been fired, authorities said yesterday.
Sheriff Michael Jackson said he did not learn for more than a week that his deputies had been involved in the March 17 incident in Temple Hills. He said the involvement came to light only because the number of bullets recovered -- about 90 -- did not match the number of shots fired by county and Maryland-National Capital Park Police officers.
Jackson said the deputy who fired, Gustavo Casanova, has been placed on leave pending the outcome of a county police investigation into the shooting. Jackson said an internal sheriff's office investigation into the actions of the 11 officers -- 10 deputies and one sergeant -- would follow.
"For some unknown reason," he said, "people did not report that they were on the scene, and that has caused great concern for us."
Nicholas A. Howard of the 1800 block of Q Street SE was killed just after midnight on St. Patrick's Day when he fired his weapon toward police officers outside Gill's Holiday Liquor Sports Bar and Restaurant on Branch Avenue, authorities have said.
Howard, 26, was killed in gunfire that officials initially said came from a total of 14 officers. The gunfire sent patrons diving for cover, shattered glass and mirrors and left more than 40 bullet holes in the facade of the bar and restaurant.
Jackson said Casanova has been on the force about three years. Jackson said he is "fairly certain" no other deputies fired. Casanova could not immediately be reached.
Twelve Prince George's police officers and two from the Maryland-National Capital Park Police were placed on administrative leave immediately and were identified publicly by their agencies the day after the shooting.
Staff writer Mary Pat Flaherty contributed to this report.